Wildlife conservationist Ivan Carter's new show urges people to be more conscious of the ecosystem
Wildlife investigator, hunting guide and conservationist Ivan Carter believes people need to start asking ‘How can they help?’ instead of just being ‘aware’ about the wildlife. And with his popular series Carter’s W.A.R (Wildlife Animal Response) which had its India-release on June 15, Zimbabwe-based Carter, 49, urges his viewers to act before it’s too late. The TV host and wildlife photographer has travelled to the remotest part of Africa, in the last three decades, building a relationship with the people in the frontline and watching the ecosystem change. Days after the show airs on Discovery, Carter talks about exploring the angles of poachers and conservationists in the series, feeding his passion and more. Excerpts:
What was the idea behind Carter’s W.A.R?
The idea was to show the thin line where humans and wildlife meet, which is indeed a line full of conflict. I have wanted to do something like this for many years and as it became a reality, we started exploring species and landscapes and conservation stories that were worthy of being told. We soon found that these stories were always driven by amazingly passionate individuals and this added a great element to the drama of each episode when you saw that people were dedicating their lives to this. Each episode was entirely different – the crocodile episode took the longest time and we were in the field for six weeks filming. Others were not as long and on an average, each episode took us about three weeks in the field.
A lot has been talked about poaching, how is this show different from the others?
This series doesn’t entirely focus on poaching and rather goes to a deeper level. We examine every angle from why animals are poached to learning and understanding the poachers’ perspective as well as the animal’s perspective and of course the perspective of the conservationist.
You have covered Africa’s jungles extensively in the past. How did this series enrich you?
Knowing the people on the frontline and the wildlife builds a genuine empathy and I feel that this comes out in the show and feeds my passion to help make a difference to their future.
What was the most challenging thing about the series?
The hardest part was seeing the reality of how fast our wildlife and their habitat is shrinking and the feeling of desperation that ‘This Needs To Stop’. Logistics were also incredibly challenging.
People are becoming more aware of wildlife. Do you think there is more to be done?
I think awareness is the first step but people need to start asking ‘how can I help?’ For this I have set up my foundation - Wildlife Conservation Alliance and I wish that people would look more closely at their own lives and be conscious of their impact on our ecosystems.
You also bring your children on board at times. Is that a conscious decision?
Having kids on the front line and then filming and photographing their experience to inspire other children is very important to me and that’s why we encourage their engagement on the front line.
What are your other future projects?
We have been researching another series and we have found more than enough stories that need to be told so watch this space.
The show is currently airing on Discovery, Discovery HD and Discovery Plus app.